Born in Brooklyn but currently based in Charlotte, NC, rock artist Matt Alter has been a musician for nearly all of his life. Prior to the pandemic, Alter released his debut album The Bitter Pill (2020), inspired by a difficult divorce. He’s now returned with his sophomore release and a new perspective for his work. His new album Race to the Finish is a fully self-produced project that explores deep feelings of both love and loss, tied together with his unique and powerful rock sound.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
Race to the Finish opens with its title track, with energy and driving rhythms abounding. This track is most definitely in the prog-rock vein; at over 12 minutes in length, there is plenty of time for Alter to explore a huge variety of tones and styles. From spacey, psychedelic riffs to acoustic interludes, from drum solos to heavily distorted electric guitars, this track feels like a true sampling of Alter’s skills and preferences. It’s a comprehensive introduction to his sound.
Work opens on a softer note but quickly ramps it up to a comparable energy level as we saw in the first track. This is more straight-ahead rock in execution, and it features both a gritty guitar solo and a remarkably catchy hook that makes this a standout track on the album.
The inclusion of some punk elements on TechniColor is a welcome addition. The driving uptempo rhythms fit in well with the rest of the album, but provide a different sonic texture that gives more depth to Alter’s artistic range. There are also quite a few notable lyrical moments in this track – while there are plenty of instances of great storytelling on this record, here we get a sample of something that feels particularly raw and authentic, deeply in tune with the overall messaging on this project:
“Grew up in a black and white world
Technicolor was the goal
Nothing is clear
Everything is gray.
I hope it doesn’t stay that way.“
One could argue that the intro to Who Ever Said is straight blues, before settling into a soft psych-rock shuffle. This track, written after the loss of his mother, is extremely personal to Alter, and the challenging emotions that come with such a devastating event are on full display here. It showcases Alter’s softer side, leaning into mournful guitar solos, a lighter hand on the production, and truly heart-wrenching lyrics. It’s both devastating and moving.
We also love Magic Wand for its piano-ballad feel, employing a host of percussion underutilized in this genre and delivering uplifting energy throughout.
This work is full of definitive passion, clear insight, and musical vibrancy. The journey that Matt Alter has been on since the release of his first album is extremely apparent in the second. Race to the Finish is a collection of complex stories and hard-hitting musicality, tied together by an explorative, unrestrained rock sound. Stream Race to the Finish for yourself on 12/3/21, or check out the single Work below.
BELOW: Listen to Race to the Finish and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Matt Alter by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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Race to the Finish premieres 12/3/21. Stream single Work now: